April 30, 2007

Track Teams Achieve Success at Penn Relays

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At the meet that marked the start of outdoor tracks’ championship season, both Red teams posted a number of impressive performances. It was the women’s team, however, that especially shined at the Penn Relays.
Senior Sarah Wilfred finished first at the event in the high jump with a mark of 5-10 1/2, besting jumpers from Texas A&M and Auburn as well as Ivy League rival Becky Christensen from Harvard.

[img_assist|nid=23272|title=Digging deep.|desc=Sophomore Will Seidell runs at the Big Red Invitational yesterday in Ithaca, NY., where Red athletes won eight events.|link=node|align=left|width=80|height=100]
Senior Robyn Ellerbrock provided the most impressive result of the weekend, shattering the school record in the 3000-meter steeplechase by over eight seconds on her way to a fifth place finish. Ellerbrock finished with a 10:24.86, 25 seconds behind winner Bridget Franek of Penn State.
“She gave us the best individual performance,” said women’s head coach Lou Duesing. “That’s a very good NCAA Regionals mark.”
Sophomore Jeomi Maduka, one of the Red’s top jumpers, was relegated to the college triple jump rather than the premier event in her field, the Championship of America’s triple jump. Still, Maduka made the most of the opportunity, winning the event after posting a 12.83.
In the relay events, senior co-captain Morgan Uceny — a national title contender in the 800 meter — highlighted the 4×800 meter relay with a time of 2:03.6. Although it was Uceny’s best ever time in the 4×800, the quartet only finished 11th overall.
“The other runners [senior Nyam Kagwima, junior Anjelica Gregory, and sophomore Robin Daniels] know that their legs were disappointing,” Duesing said.
The distance medley’s highlight came from freshman Kerri Lyons, whose 800-meter leg was a personal best of 2:13. Again, however, her teammates could not follow through to propel the Red to a top finish. Anchor Nyam Kagwima started the 1600 meter off too fast, losing steam by the end of the relay.
“The other three legs didn’t know what they wanted to do,” Duesing said. “Kagwima came out too fast, and she paid dearly for it in the last 100 meters.”
On the men’s side, senior Kolby Hoover achored the Red to a first place finish among Ivy teams in the 4×400.
“We hadn’t won this race in a while,” said men’s track assistant coach Robert Johnson.
The distance medley was highly anticipated and did not disappoint. The Cornell squad finished sixth overall, beating such traditional distance powerhouses as Oregon and Arkansas.
Sophomore Andy Miller, junior Michael Smayda and sophomore Marcel van Eeden joined anchor Jimmy Wyner in the event on Friday.
“Miller [who ran the 1200] was very strong, he didn’t let the pressure get to him,” Johnson said. “Jimmy ran a great 4:01.3 in the 1600…I think it was a really good performance.”
Wyner could not follow up on his performance the next day, running a disappointing time in the 4×800 as the Red finished 12th in Championship division.
“Running is weird, it’s really a day-to-day thing,” Johnson said.
The 4×400 Heps relay featured two impressive legs from juniors Adam Seabrook and Aaron Merril, as the Red outpaced longtime rival Princeton for top honors.
Junior Muhammad Halim, finished fourth in the triple jump Championship of America division.
“The biggest meet of the year [the Heps] is next weekend, so we are looking forward to that,” Johnson said.